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Old 08-29-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
1st Gear Newbie
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 3
Buying an e46 325i ZHP?? - Your opinions Please

Hello all,

Well I've always owned Hondas and truthfully I was actually in the market for an Acura TSX but I'm very picky with those cars and have had no luck finding what I want. I stumbled across a pretty decent deal for a 2003 325i 5sp manual sedan and I'm really thinking of buying it.

I have done a lot of research and searching but I feel a bit confused so I apologize if some of this is redundant.

I have a few questions in terms of what to look for:
- the subframe tearing issue. I've read so much about this... apparently they switched metal sheet suppliers in 02 which made the issue less prevalent. Is it really more common among the 1999-2001? I've also read that it is less common among the 323 and 325 in comparison to the m3 or 330. Can anyone confirm this? I suppose the smaller engines put less stress on the frame...
- window regulators - anything I can do to identify signals of possible wearing out?
- replacing control arms and their bushings, engine belts, as well as the subframe bushings
- maintenance on water cooling components such as tstat, water pump and expansion tank


The seller says it has the ZHP package but it's my understanding that the 325 didn't come with a ZHP package (only the 330 did right?). Also we're in Canada... so either the seller is confused and it's actually the M Sport package available here or just a regular 325i with a bunch of the ZHP / M performance / M tech parts on it. Can someone confirm this? I honestly don't even care if it's a legit ZHP or not, I just don't like people lying.

My understanding is that in Canada we have these packages:
- M sport - similar to US ZSP but can have m tech body parts - available on all models
- M performance (clubsport?) - similar to US ZHP without the engine upgrades - available on 330 only??

What can I do to ensure that it's originally equipped with the M Sport or M Performance / ZHP package if it is indeed available on the 325 since I can't identify this from the VIN?

Here's what I noticed about this car:
- sits a bit lower than the base models
- "m" badge on the steering wheel and shifter
- has sport seats
- different front and rear bumper from the base model. These look like the ZHP / M tech bumpers
- has a lip/spoiler on the trunk
- I noticed the dash trim is solid silver as opposed to having a carbon fiber pattern on it which I think confirms that it's not a ZHP

So what do you think? Is it a 325i with M Sport pkg or 325i with M tech or ZHP parts from a 330? I'm going to put him on the spot and see what he says. I'm pretty sure it's a 325i with the M Sport package because apparently that came with the m tech bumpers also (this is what I'd like someone to please confirm)

Car looks exactly like this but with amber turn signals:

I read this thread but everyone is talking about the 330:

I have spent plenty of hours digging through forums and have found a lot of helpful information, but I want to make sure I have all my bases covered. Is there anything else I should keep in mind or know about these cars?

I would really appreciate your feedback, Thanks!

PS. sorry, this turned out way longer than expected
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